Getting Started Using Reverb in your Home Recordings - dummies

Getting Started Using Reverb in your Home Recordings

By Jeff Strong

Reverb is like garlic: The more you use, the less you can taste it. Just as the new chef puts garlic in everything (and lots of it), many budding sound engineers make the same mistake with reverb. Go easy. Remember: Less is more.

Here are some other points to keep in mind:

  • Mixes often sound better when you use reverb on only a few instruments instead of them all. For example, it’s common for just the snare drum of the drum set to have reverb on it. The rest of the drums and cymbals remain dry (unaffected).

  • Think about how you want each instrument to sit in the mix when you choose reverb. Make sure that the type and amount of reverb fit the song and the rest of the instruments.

  • Try putting the dry sound on one side of the stereo field and the reverb on the other. For example, if you have a rhythm guitar part that you set at 30 degrees off to the right of the stereo field, set the reverb 30 degrees off to the left. This can produce a nice effect.

  • To keep the vocals up front in the mix, use a short reverb setting. A vocal plate is a great choice because the decay is fast. This adds a fair amount of the reverb to the vocal without making it sit way back in the mix.

  • Experiment with room types, sizes, and decay times. Sometimes a long decay on a small-room reverb sounds better than a short decay on a large-room or hall reverb.